Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Look what the catfish dragged in!" ~ Scuttle, The Little Mermaid

Today was a great day! OK, that doesn't sound so sincere, but it is!  In the morning I got the factory to find that it was only Vegard and I there yet (ie a few minutes before school actually starts like we are supposed to be) and he has not only set up a bench, gotten the best glory hole but was patiently waiting for a partner to show up! I happily stepped in and we worked together all morning.  He made a few really good karaffes for water that he has been trying to make for a week now! And, I continued to work on my bottles with a curvy necked top.  I managed to get 2 that were at least keep-able.  The only things I have made and kept all week!  Marianna (the 2nd year Nordic teacher mainly) helped us a lot and gave us new input and encouragement.  I think we were both pleased with our day.  We got to use some new jacks which are handmade by an old glass teacher somewhere in the area which Vegard is thinking of purchasing.  Stig-Allan suggested that he try a pair first, and they were really nice! It is amazing how nice it is to have nice tools and pipes and not have to get some crappy pair that a million people have abused before you!  

After lunch Micke Johansson, the master that currently works for Pukeberg and the Kalmar University Design Program came and did a demonstration at school! He is really amazing and regarded as one of the best in the business and he did some cool techniques.  He did one graal piece which ended up being around 5 kg and beautiful bottle.  He was working with and assistant who had designed the piece they were creating.  It was interesting because the assistant would be like "no, its not straight enough" or "put it in one more time and get it really hot to give it another puff, I want it wider in this area" even if it was super hard or difficult the master would just do it! It was amazing.  He also did a piece which I had never seen called Ariel (yes, like the Little Mermaid) but it is called that I think because it is air trapped in the piece.  It is similar to graal but the design is created by putting bubbles in the glass which gives it amazing depth and dimension.  I am not good at explaining it but Graal is when you take two layers of color in a sort of cylinder with one end closed and when it is cold crave away to the bottom layer some pattern.  Then you get it super hot, stick it on the pipe with the open in on the pipe so you can blow it into something bigger and cooler and keep the pattern in the colored glass.  Ariel is done in a similar manner but instead of cutting through colored glass you cut into clear super deep and then when it is hot again you put a layer of more clear hot glass over it and trap bubbles in the deep cut areas.  Both of these are traditional Swedish techniques and both very advanced and cool looking!  I really want to try them!!! I was left both inspired and determined, Micke Johansson only has 21 more years of glassblowing under his belt then I do... 

After that I went to the cold shop for the last evening class of 2010 (wow) and then to the gym!  I am happy I am getting to the gym so much now, feels like maybe I am getting stronger and more even.  Maybe?  No Red Sonja yet but soon!  Now, I am off to bed, tomorrow is a whole day of blowing the factory then to Kalmar with Rosanne to get a new camera! 

Here is the Danish Little Mermaid, originally written by Hans Christian Anderson.

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